It’s that time of the year where we get to begin wearing sweaters and boots again. Yay! For me, this is the only consolation about the weather getting cooler and the darkness coming earlier.
With that said, many of us are scrambling to get a new pair of boots to support us through the cooler months. The selection is amazing right now, which is good, but it can also be very confusing.
So, my clients ask this question every year. How do I choose the right boot to look fabulous, be comfortable and also to carry me through the season? My number one rule for all clothing and accessories is that they should be flattering. SO now you may ask, how do I know what style is flattering for me?
Choose Your Style Wisely: Whatever style boots you choose, you need to make sure that they are in proportion to your body shape and size. They don’t have to be in classic proportion, but they should add positive, not negative lines to your overall look.
For instance, short boots that fall just under an overlarge calf could highlight the heft of the leg. Stiletto-heeled boots on a very short or heavy woman could look out of balance. A big thick heavy heel will look very out of proportion on a petite frame.
If you have skinny legs, don’t wear baggy boots. Tall boots that are too wide on a skinny leg could make for a bottom heavy look. There should be no more than ½ inch between the top of boot and your leg.
If you are short, keep your hose the same color as your boot to look taller and with a longer leg line. Also, remember that the lighter the color of your boot, the shorter your leg will appear, so choose navy, black, dark brown etc.
So choose with thought. Always think of your entire look – don’t buy a pair of boots just because they’re gorgeous and leather is scrumptious. The boot has to look good on your leg and work with your overall wardrobe.
With those caveats in mind, here are a few ways to wear various styles of boots this season:
Tall Boots: If you only have enough room in your budget or your closet for one pair of boots, invest in slim knee-high boots. This style is a classic and timeless staple.
Wear tall boots with long, short, or above-the-knee length skirts. You can also wear them tucked into skinny jeans. All boots look best with tights or opaque hose.
If you are wearing tall boots with a skirt, make sure the skirt shape is compatible with boots. If your skirt is billowy, wear formfitting boots. Your overall look will also benefit if your hemline ends just over the top of your boots. If your skirt is tight, you can get away with larger boots and your hem should be a few inches between your boot top and your skirt.
If you have large muscular calves, never fear. Many of my clients swear that they cannot find tall boots to fit, but I always can find at least one pair that works for them. Many brands now carry fuller calf widths and there are many that also have elasticized back panels that expand with your calf. As I mentioned earlier, make sure there is no leg bulge sticking out of the top.
Short Ankle-Boots: These are all the rage this year and work great with pants, skirts and dresses. Short boots with flat-heels can also look adorable with sporty skirts and fun socks or tights.
Shooties: Even more popular this season is a boot with an even lower cut called the “shootie.” Many shooties have open toes, which make them a bit more complicated to coordinate. (See peep toe notes below)
Over the Knee Boots: Boots that come over the knee are a risky investment. This style is very hard to coordinate in most outfits. They are also very difficult to look good in unless you’re a long and lean model type.
Midcalf Boots: These work well with a short skirt and opaque tights or dark hose. These also work under a long skirt, again with opaque tights. A skirt that meets the boot top exactly will probably look a little odd. Better the skirt should be longer or shorter than the boot. Slouchy mid calf boots look great with tights and a skirt or with tucked in jeans.
Peep Toe Boots: The smaller the peep, the easier they are to wear. Make sure that you wear opaque tights. Sheer does not work and will date your look immediately. If you decide to go bare foot, keep your manicure fresh and only use this look if your outfit is slender and your hem is high. The bare legged shootie looks works best for the under 30. If you do wear peep toes with jeans, make sure that you add a lightweight sock over your tights so that it does not look like you are wearing hose under your jeans. Avoid heavyweight fabrics for your socks.
Equestrian Boots: This style works well with almost anything this season. If they have super chunky heels, they will work best with extra long flowy skirts. Typically flat equestrian boots can be a bit less fitted to allow for tucking in your jeans.
This is one of my favorite case studies! A wedding gown is commonly one of the key ingredients to set the tone for the wedding. This particular wedding was to be held outside on bluffs overlooking the ocean. For many brides, what they will feel and look like walking down the aisle in the perfect gown has been an image in their mind since they were playing dress up.
This particular bride did not have a gown in her mind nor the budget to buy one. She did however have wonderful friends who were willing to give her their old gowns to wear. Enter, me, her stylist! Even though we had three gowns to choose from, in my opinion, none of them suited this bride.
Take a look at our first two options below. One was a cocktail dress, which I eliminated immediately and although the other had a nice cut on top with the halter neckline, I felt the skirt was way too full for this particular bride. Added on top of this was the fact that this bride did not like tulle.
When we looked at the third option, although the silhouette was all wrong, I was beginning to get energized and see that, because I have an amazing seamstress, we might have the ability to create a customized gown for this bride.
So, off came the top layers and the A-line bottom. We used only the lining and a little Italian lace to create the gown of her dreams. Creating the universally appealing sweetheart neckline and adjusting the width of the gown to show off her fabulous shape were the first two steps.
Adding lace to the bodice and cutting out the back to create a sexy v was the next order of business. See how we accentuated the V design by mimicking the shape with the lace down past her tush? This added drame, elongated her torso and also slimmed her silhouette.
We also added lace that tapered to a v on the front of the gown to create the same elongating and slimming effect.
After this, we simply added the finishing touches and oila! had a gown made just for her!
We were so lucky that one of the veils matched the ivory lace perfectly and look at the finished ensemble. Yay!
Here are a few photos from the wedding:
After moving into our new home, I discovered very quickly that I had to downsize my makeup collection. My husband and I now share an in the wall medicine cabinet with two doors above one lone pedestal sink.
Even though I frequently advise my clients to add more storage to their bathroom when faced with this situation, I myself did not want to add more cabinets to our bathroom because I was enjoying it’s spaciousness.
So, before I made any decision about what to do, I decided to only put into my side of the cabinet, the makeup and skin care that I use on a daily basis. The rest I left in the plastic shoebox that I had moved in with.
I am personally amazed to report: I have only pulled that box out twice in 6 months! Once for false eyelashes (yes, for a special event) and the other to retrieve my red lipstick which I obviously seldom, if ever, wear.
The moral to this story is this – we all need far less makeup and skin care than we own. I love the fact that all of my stuff fits into one tiny cabinet and yes, I am proud of it too!
This is your challenge should you decide to accept it: go to your makeup drawer or drawers (I know who you are out there!) and remove every product that you dont use regularly. Stash it away out of sight and see if you ever go back to search for something in it. Your rewards will be two-fold.
1. You will be able to find everything you need from now on with very little effort because there will no be any clutter.
2. You will spend much less money on makeup and skin care and what you do decide to purchase can probably be of much higher quality because you are spending less money on trivial spur of the moment purchases.
So this is the lesson from my new bathroom: Pedestal Sink = More Simplified Life
Hi Elena, Your intuition about pastels is correct. They are not that great for olive complexions. You should choose a warm, rich color. If your hair is black, navy or purple would work well but if your hair is light brown or blonde, you might choose something not as dark.
As you can see in this picture in the picture below, pastels work well for fair complexions but would not be nearly as attractive combined with an olive complexion.
Thanks so much for your question. Have fun at prom. I would love to see what gown you choose to wear. Please send a copy of your prom photo!
What does an iron and a cat have in common? Not much until recently. Monopoly just removed the iron token from their game and instead enlisted the services of a cat. It’s about time since a dog has been a token from the beginning!
Monopoly claims that ironing is on a decline. Why not tell that to the average woman in the UK who, according to NPR, irons an average of 55 minutes a week.
Wow. Haven’t they heard of the professional steamer? You save boatloads of time using a professional grade steamer. You also save a lot of money on dry cleaning bills.
My life changed dramatically 15 years ago when my husband bought me a professional clothes steamer. I haven’t picked up an iron since then and will not miss it in monopoly. I will, however fight to use the cat token!
Clutter happens when your life changes and you are not really ready for it. Holding onto the past is a big clutter culprit. Not only might your closet be dysfunctional, it can squelch your spirit.
For example, If your body has changed and you are still holding onto your “skinny” clothes, your closet is probably dysfunctional and bulging at the seams. 2013 is time to let those old skinny clothes go.
Clothes that are too small and still hanging around in your closet can cause anxiety, depression and feelings of low self esteem. If you truly want to get back into your skinny clothes, ditch all of the old ones except maybe your favorite pair of jeans (to use as a litmus test) and keep only the clothes that fit you now in your closet. Try it! wearing clothes that fit perfectly, no matter what your size is now, boosts your self esteem and happiness factor which, in turn, promotes greater will power to get back down to your ” skinny” size if you decide later on that it really is still important!
Ok, so now I know what might be going through your head as you read this “what if I do lose the weight and then have nothing to wear”. What about all of the money I will be wasting? Think about it, if and when you do get down to your old skinny size, do you really want to pull out those old clothes as your reward? Probably not, you will want to celebrate your new slim self with new clothes. Right? So go ahead, chuck the old clothes that no longer fit your body, undersized or oversize, they just don’t deserve any space within your closet.
Kathi! Help! We are headed to my friends wedding on Long Island. I got this outfit for the bachorette day. What color tights would you recommend?? I have pantyhose & black ones… But the black just seems so … Dark. Au secours!!
Hose are still not perfect but sheer tights will do the trick. Try a pair with a pattern like the ones I show below. The pattern will also step up your outfit a bit more.
I have always struggled with what to wear as an African American Male, so I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me?
1. I have attached a picture of myself and I’m wondering if I am a cool or warm skin tone? (I have green veins)
2. What kind of jewelry will look best on me? For example, white gold or yellow gold?
3. What colors of clothing would be best for me to wear?
If you have time, it would help me a lot if you could answer these questions.
University of Oklahoma
Business Finance and Philosophy
Thanks for your question and also for sending me your photo. I realize that determining your best colors can be quite a challenge. Since you say your veins are more green hued than blue, I would say that you have a warm skin tone. In the picture your skin tone also appears more brown (warm) than black (cool).
With these details in mind I would suggest that you wear yellow gold jewelry, not white gold or silver.
The colors that will look best will be in the warm yellow tinted colors not colors with blue tints. Choose clothes that are made with the bright colors that occur in nature during the fall season. Since you live in Oklahoma, this will be easy to identify and you should be getting a lot of inspiration in the coming months!
I would love to see you in lime green, pumpkin, saffron, bright orange red etc. If you have a choice between white and ivory or off-white for your shirts, always choose ivory. It is a warm color and will even out your skin tone.
It might be helpful to print a copy of the color wheel in this article and take it with you when you shop to get a better idea of what colors to wear.
When you are shopping and uncertain about the color, ask someone close by if you look healthy or tired when you hold the item up close to your face. If your skin tone looks more even and healthier, you are on the right track. If your face looks tired or your skin tone is more faded, don’t make that purchase.
Also, if you wear something and throughout the day people ask you if you are tired or feeling under the weather, this is a tell tale indication that you are wearing the wrong color and it is probably has more of a blue than a yellow base. I hope this helps!
Best of luck to you. If you find the perfect item or outfit in a color that makes you look and feel fantastic, please send me another photo!
One of my readers just submitted a comment stating that his/her friends said that they should never wear bright colors because their skin is too dark. I feel that this statement is nonsense and this is my response:
I am sorry to hear that others say your skin is too black to wear bright colors. Too bad for them because they are incorrect and congratulations to you for trying to jazz up your appearance!
Having black skin does not make it inappropriate to wear bright colors. In fact I find bright colors often enhance darker skin tones IF they are right color spectrum for their skin tone, either cool or warm.
What you really need to consider when choosing colors to enhance your image is the warmth or coolness of your skin tone. Skin tones that are cool, will look best in cool tones, warm skin tones will be complimented with warmer tones.
If you look at a basic color wheel, you will see that colors range from warm to cool. So do skin tones.
There are many tricks for determining which side of the spectrum your skin falls under, warm or cool.
One easy method is to get two swatches of cloth about the size of your face, one gold and one silver. Pull your hair back from your face and hold each one up to your face. Notice which one minimizes the shadows and imperfections in your skin. Notice also which one makes you look more tired sallow toned.
If gold makes your skin look even toned, with less imperfections and even glowing or sunny, you have a warm skin tone. If blue enhances your face and makes the lines and imperfections disappear, your skin tone is cool.
Whatever tone your skin is, you will be able to wear bright colors if they within the tonality of your skin. The perfect colors you choose will fall into bright warm colors or bright cool colors. The color graph below might help you understand which bright colors will be the correct choice for you to wear.
If you still have difficulty determining your skin tone, try this test. Look at the back of your hand. If you have an orange – yellow tint, you are of a warm skin tone. If you have a blue tint, your tone will be of the cooler family.
Another way to tell is look at your veins on the inside of your wrist. if they are green, you probably are a warm tone. If they appear more blue, you are a cool.
I hope this helps. Have fun wearing bright colors. I think it brightens everyones day when you show up wearing the perfect bright pop of color coordinated into a nice outfit! I realize that there is not enough helpful information published for people of color and I will keep writing more articles on this subject, so please check back often!
Winter and Summer complexions are both cool skin tones with a blue base. These ‘seasons’ so to speak are helpful when determining what clothing to buy and what to wear.
Both of these seasons are best served by wearing cooler or more blue based colors.
Summers differ from winter complexions in that they are a bit softer. Winters will have a large contrast between their skin, hair and eyes where summers will bled more gently together. Because summers are themselves of softer tones, they look best in blended colors, not with dramatic variations. Wearing strong contrasted colors will make them appear overpowered and tired.
Winter complexions are usually more dramatic with a strong contrast between skin, hair and eyes. The combination of black hair, pale skin and blue eyes. is a typical indicator of a ‘winter’ complexion. A strong pairing of contrasting colors will enliven and accent the already intense look of a winter.
Taking notice of the colors in nature during each of these seasons also helps you determine which colors correspond with your tonality. Take for instance the stark contrast of crisp white winter snow and the deep red of a poinsettia.